Larry the GM says: Clint continues to monitor the low-cost options that the Astros can give the "Will Smith Fix" to. This also should help folks calibrate their expectations for the Astros this month. The team has the trade capital for one MAYBE two significant deals and then needs to pursue low-risk high-reward options that could help. Cabrera is in that later group.
Clint has a knack for spotting the fringe players. Listen to him now and hear him later. Clint has a suggestion for the Astros today. Maybe the Astros should consider Genesis Cabrera.
The left-handed reliever is set to be DFA’d today. This opens a one-week window to trade him or pass him through outright waivers.
Cabrera, 26, is 1-1 with a 5.06 ERA in 2023. He’s posted a WHIP of 1.56 with 38 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched. He carries a mid-90s fastball, slider, curveball, sinker, and , change-up. He’s posted WOBA and xWOBA numbers below:
Credit Baseball Savant
We always look at WOBA and xWOBA as strong indicators for pitch performance, especially against right and left-handed hitters. This is a strong indicator of how to approach pitch sequence, especially in high-leverage situations.
As I mentioned in the Amir Garrett article, the bullpen could use some added depth and a left-handed reliever outside of Gage and Mushinski. The upside of Cabrera is the above-average velocity and the variety of pitches. He has dominant stuff against left-handed hitters, and the Astros can help Cabrera lean into his strengths. I would love to see Cabrera go exclusively to the sinker, curveball, and slider against lefties, and curveballs and sinkers to righties. The most realistic approach is to scrap the change-up and fastball in most situations.
From an intangible standpoint, the Astros have one of the best left-handed pitchers in Baseball by the name of Framber Valdez. There is an opportunity for Cabrera to learn from Valdez and implement some of the pitch movement and “secret sauce” which makes Framber dominant. Secondly, Cabrera is 6’2” and 180 lbs., which is rather light compared to Astros pitchers. The pitching staff doesn’t have a pitcher at that height or taller than 200 lbs., which tells me there is room to improve Cabrera’s physical stature and develop the frame to elevate his fastball velocity into the high 90s.
As the Astros head to the trade deadline, we continue to look for moves that they can afford but offer upside. A 26-year-old lefty with above-average velocity and a proven repertoire against left-handed hitters would give them an added option in high and low-leverage situations. The Astros continue to juggle an aging 40-man roster and farm system which is not profiling highly in the MLB currently. This is the type of move the front office could pursue to alleviate the 40-man roster and open options to protect younger players from the Rule 5 draft or add a veteran at the deadline.
Carrera does have an option year left according to fangraphs.com roster resource. The Astros could take a flyer on Cabrera and try to "fix" him in Sugar Land. If they could get him to 2021 performance levels, it would give Dusty another bullpen option, especially in case of injury. Adding Cabrera probably means one of the last arms on the 40-man roster is DFA'd.
With Cabrera posting a -0.4 trade value based on baseballtradevalues.com, the Astros would be able to move anyone within reason to ensure they grab him before waivers. The Cardinals have some interesting options the Astros could consider a starting pitcher, and maybe even a big-time bat if the Cardinals are willing to listen.